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Red lentil pasta sauce

red lentil pasta sauce

This has been a lentil kind of winter so far. I’m completely in love with the little bright red lentil — it goes in everything: pasta salads, green salads, soups (and even raw as sprouts — they’re delicious!).

So, when an accident in the kitchen occurred — tomato sauce spilled into a dish of lentils — an “ah HA!” moment occurred (kind of a “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter” situation).

red lentil pasta sauce 2

Ta Da! Red Lentil Pasta Sauce!

A quick trip to the store, and the potential became reality. A little smoked paprika — which I just adore with lentils — makes for a rich, scrumptious red lentil pasta sauce that’s particularly warming on sub-freezing January nights.

Karen xo

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Red lentil pasta sauce

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow or sweet onion small dice
  • 1 rib celery small dice
  • 1 small carrot small dice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 24 ounces tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium until shimmering. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and stir until soft. Add the paprika, tomato paste, and a big pinch of salt to the vegetables. Pour in the water or stock and bring to a simmer. Add the lentils, stir, and cover the pan. Allow the lentils to cook for 20 minutes.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce (get every last bit out of the can(s) by adding water, swishing well, and pouring all into the sauce. Heat until bubbling over medium, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Serve over pasta, rice, or quinoa.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
Recipe Rating

Rocky Mountain Woman

Wednesday 23rd of January 2013

I may have to have this for dinner tonight. It's kind of calling me....


Wednesday 23rd of January 2013

Sounds yummy, Karen. Do you have the nutritional info for the recipe?


Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

Very ironic - after making a lentil casserole this weekend, I was told that lentils are not a "normal food".

Now I know the answer - I just needed to puree them into tomato sauce... Genius.


Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

Brilliant, Karen. I love happy accidents in the kitchen. This is the second red lentil recipe I've seen recently, which I think is a sign to pick up red lentils at the store since my pantry only has brown ones right now. Thanks!


Monday 21st of January 2013

The best accidents when you discover a food pair like a hand in a glove. I really enjoy lentil soup. I have not enjoyed the red lentil but no doubt, it would be delicious. the smoked paprika, this my friend is a really nice addition.

Thanks for sharing.



Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

Thanks, Velva - it was a nice surprise, kind of a forehead slap moment. Pasta (usually GF) and sauce is a winter staple, but I often forget how lovely various vegetables (and legumes!) make such lovely sauce (like butternut squash sauce - one of my favorites). It's nice to mix things up now and then.